Home » Meet Chris Womack: Newest member of elite Black executives leading America’s biggest companies

Meet Chris Womack: Newest member of elite Black executives leading America’s biggest companies

by Omokolade Ajayi
Chris Womack

It’s a pivotal moment in corporate America as accomplished Black executives continue to break barriers and shatter glass ceilings. Amidst the wave of progress and change, Christopher Womack (Chris Womack), a highly regarded leader in the energy sector, has emerged as the latest addition to the prestigious group of top Black executives

As he leads on in the role of president and CEO of a renowned gas and electric utility company, Womack’s appointment in May 2023 underscores the ongoing transformation within the highest echelons of corporate leadership.

For decades, the representation of Black businesspeople at the helm of America’s biggest corporations has been scarce. However, recent years have witnessed a remarkable shift, with a notable increase in the number of Black CEOs in the S&P 500.

According to Forbes, between 2000 and 2020, only 16 Black CEOs were appointed. Yet, since 2020 alone, at least five new Black CEOs have been appointed to these prestigious positions, marking a quicker pace of change.

In a report earlier this year, Billionaires.Africa revealed that the number of Black executives leading Fortune 500 companies had reached a historic high of eight, from just six in the previous year.

Among the two most recent additions, Womack stood out as a trailblazer. Hailing from Greenville, Alabama, Womack’s rise to the top is a testament to his unwavering commitment, exceptional talent, and remarkable leadership skills.

With an impressive educational background, Womack holds a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University, a master’s degree from The American University, and completed the prestigious Stanford Executive Program in 2001. These laid the groundwork for a remarkable career that would see him make a lasting impact on the energy sector and beyond.

Womack’s professional journey began in the 1980s when he served as a legislative aide for the esteemed Leon Panetta, who would later become U.S. secretary of defense. In 1988, he joined Southern Company, one of the leading energy providers in the United States, where his dedication and expertise propelled him through various senior roles across multiple departments. Notably, his career took a significant turn when he was relocated to an office next to then-CEO Thomas Fanning in 2010.

Before assuming his role as the President and CEO of Southern Company in May 2023, Womack served as chairman, president, and CEO of Georgia Power Company, a subsidiary of Southern Company, from 2021 to 2023. His tenure was marked by significant accomplishments, positioning Georgia Power Company as an industry leader and reinforcing his reputation as an astute and visionary executive. 

Beyond his exceptional corporate achievements, Womack has also profoundly impacted the African-American community. He served as the chair of the board of the East Lake Foundation and is an esteemed member of the National Board of The First Tee. Additionally, he contributes his expertise to the Georgia Ports Authority Board, further cementing his dedication to the growth and prosperity of his local community.

Womack’s extraordinary leadership extends beyond the energy sector. Since 2021, he has been the Non-Executive Director of Invesco, a prominent American independent investment management company. In this role, he actively contributes to the Audit Committee, Nomination and Corporate Governance Committee, and Compensation Committee, demonstrating his commitment to fostering best practices and governance excellence.

As Womack takes the helm of Southern Company, his appointment marks a significant milestone in fostering inclusivity and diversity within corporate America. The accomplishments of Black executives like Womack exemplify the collaborative efforts of talented professionals who have guided and advised corporations, bringing fresh perspectives, innovation, and strategic acumen to the boardroom.

Womack stands tall as a symbol of progress in an era of transformative change and increased focus on representation. His journey from humble beginnings to becoming one of the elite Black executives leading America’s biggest companies is an inspiration to aspiring leaders and a testament to the power of perseverance, determination, and unwavering dedication.

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